• CEO of Kids Hope Alliance will be off the job at least a month

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax


    The CEO of Jacksonville’s Kids Hope Alliance will be off the job for at least a month.

    According to the agency and the city, Joe Peppers is taking time off to address “longstanding health issues.”

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    On Wednesday, Peppers was absent from a regularly scheduled board meeting at KHA, which was unusual for the CEO.

    Wednesday night, KHA employees got an email from Chief Operating Officer Mary Tobin notifying them of an all staff meeting Thursday morning. 

    That’s when they found out about Peppers’ leave of absence.

    Tobin will take over Peppers’ responsibilities while he’s gone.

    A classmate of Peppers' at West Point, Tobin said he recruited her for the COO position.

    The city has been auditing KHA’s grant process since January. 

    It’s the agency’s first audit since its formation in October 2017.


    Tobin denied Peppers’ absence is related to the audit.

    “I don’t think so. From what I understand of the health issues he’s facing, it has nothing to do with this audit or any investigation,” said Tobin. “If there’s any sense of instability, it causes people to be concerned because it’s dealing with our children, right? So, I actually don’t blame people for being concerned. It’s our children, the most vulnerable population we have.”

    Tobin described the audit as “routine.”

    She said the agency has already made changes based on auditors’ preliminary findings.
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